Saturday, 2 May 2015

Back in the saddle again first rough draft

I guess most bloggers of the perfectionist bent often don't blog enough because they can't put out that pefect post. it is good that i am not dependant on page views or followers to motivate me to do this. \i love the microblogging of twitter. where you must hone your thoughts into 140 characters.

but i digress

I am working at a farrowing to early wean facility in Teeswater and i have never been happier. Production agriculture is why i went to Guelph and thank god i have gotten back to my roots

My first expierence with hog farming was a farrow to finnish unit in Ingersol. I was going out with the owners daughter at the time. Fred taught a huge amount which was crucial in my education. I was grounded finally in reality.

you see I am a cityot. A non farm raised idiot from the city. I see this pig ignorance constantly in animal agriculture haters and assorted vegans and crazies. but even in the well meaning middle there is pig ignorance.

(as an aside pigs are more intelligent than many humans. but they default to instict when threatened or afraid, sick etc. It is heart warming to observe pen friendships which exist past separation just as cows and calves continue to call to one another. now i need to check my facts with Temple Grandin but it appears to me that these sow friends who might possibly be siblings are offering comfort to one another. but i digress)

My second experience was a 30 sow farrow to finish operation in Conn Ontario. I t had a bank barn for the sow breeding farrowing and nursing and gestation with a small finishing barnm the size of a modern implement shed. I had sloped floors and a chain manure cleaner. quel lux! The bank barns manure system consisted of a wheelbarrow and a pitch fork and shovel. later on he had off site bank barns for additional sows. John had 100 acres on which to dispose/reuse his byproducts

My third barn was near Jarvenpaa Finland (home of finnish composer Jon Sibellius, the town not the pig farm) 25% of the fam income was derived fronm the forest. Pekka had 40 Hectares. I worked there for 7 months. we had no farrowing crates but instead we had square pens with wooden bars which (inefficiently) proteced the piglets. the sows could turn around and nest which was animal friendly but which meant frequently soiled there feed with feaces. while it added extra work to clean this out it also caused problems because it was impossible to disinfect their concrete feed mangers. it was the first farrow to early wean facility i ever worked on. manure was removed by wheel barrow and a liquid gutter took the liquid waste outside somtimes it actually worked by gravity.

my 4th barn was in Honkolan Kartano near Tampere. It was a 500 sow farow to early wean We shipped 100 pound/50 kg animals to who knows where (i believe) It used a liquid feeding system which was piped and hosed into each trough. it was brewery waste as its base but supoplemented by farm raised barley and rapeseed meal. the mill was part of the town which consisted of almost exclusively farm employees. the bulk of the farm work was done by exchange students either from finland or other european companies. I was the only Canadian although there was a german and a french student. We used peat m,oss and wood savings as bedding which was absolutely amazing. I am not sure if the peat moss was generated from the farm but i believe it was a by-product of the compressed peat moss fuel industry. the barn manager was a lovely matronly woman who treated all the employees and the sows as truculent children. I beleive the pigs were called finish Landrace though i beleive we were using duroc and hampshire boars which was at that time a huge inovation

Monday, 13 October 2014

This Thanksgiving why not send your thanks to farmers worldwide

Farm Radio International has an inspirational campaign this thanksgiving. There are a raft of thanks and a news story about a Liberian radio station in the middle of the fight against the Ebola outbreak. So before or after stuffing you face with Turkey it might be a great idea to remember all the farmers right here in Ontario who are battling the weather trying to get the bean crop off and the Winter Wheat planted. You can find the full story at